If everyone made strawberry jam, the world would be a better place.
Stick with me here on this one...okay? Home canning and preserving, now a somewhat lost art, is eco-friendly. Now, I know for a fact that none of my friends or family can or preserve foods. I realize my mom doesn't even know how to do this sort of stuff. I suspect my maternal grandmother knew how because she knew everything about food and how to prepare it.
I'm spearheading this canning/preserving local food thingy because someone's got to scream out the benefits of our local produce.
For goodness sake, making jam is COOL!
I don't have doilies on the back of my sofa. I'm a Jam-maker and I don't own wicker or have that "country" feel in my kitchen. I hate those ceramic cat knicknacks, red and white checked aprons with frilly white lace trim, and my kitchen doesn't have tiles with fruit images on them.
No offense btw if you do.
I'm an urban momma and I make Jam. There, I said it.
If everyone took a little wee step and made something like homemade locally grown strawberry jam, the world would be a whole lot better because we would be lessening our reliance on imported foods and the fossil fuels that deliver them. So, if you live in the Philippines, make mango jam and if you live in Sweden, make lingonberry jam. Hopefully this will lead to you making other stuff like tomato sauce and salsa! That's fun too!
Today, at Kin's produce market in Vancouver, the local strawberries were on sale for $2 for a huge box. The box must have weighed more than 3 pounds. They were discounted because they were extremely ripe. A bit of strawberry juice was pooling on the bottom of the boxes from the weight of the berries as they rested on top of each other. The berries had a little sign that said they should be consumed today. They weren't all too pretty-looking in general. Some of the berries were a bit bruised and soft looking but they were a deep, ruby red and fragrant. I bought two baskets and took them home to make Jam. these pics don't do the berries justice as i had to use the point-and-shoot. the colours are actually a ruby red.
I left them on the counter and took Bebe to the bookstore and upon arriving home, discovered that more than a cup of the berries were pilfered! A strawberry bandit had poked a hole into the plastic wrap of one of the boxes and a whole corner of the berries had disappeared
While we were out, Stomach couldn't resist the scent of the dark ruby red berries and had eaten them on the sly over the kitchen sink. When he stands over the sink eating something, he doesn't count that as a meal. He says he's just "tasting". Yeah right.
the batteries in my Nikon were dead, so i apologize for using my point-and-shoot Sony
I was miffed, but I guess in the end I had plenty to make jam with so I didn't sweat it too much. Even after eating more than a cup, I still had more than 12 cups of berries, I figured (for $4...crimey, that's cheap!) I sent him back to see if he could buy more, but he returned empty-handed, saying that they were all gone. No wonder. They were only $2 a box! 2 bucks! a toonie! As I hulled them and sliced them in preparation for jam-making, I noted how the deep red colour penetrated throughout to the berry's core. The California strawberries on display in the store next to the local strawberries were huge in comparison; they were not as deep red in colour and I know from experience that if I were to cut one open, I'd see a white core indicating how tasteless and watery they would be.My recipe for strawberry jam produces a soft jam. This way, I can use it for breakfast scones, croissants and toast, or I can pour it over cheesecake and ice cream. It's way more versatile. I used a traditional canning method that incorporates a whole lot of sugar and no additional commercial pectin. Once you've tasted homemade strawberry jam, you wonder why you would bother buying commercial again! It's so good and so cheap! If you do it every year, all you do is buy those sealing lids, because the jars and the rings can be reused and resterilized. So it's eco-friendly too! Stomach bought me two boxes (of 12 count) lids for $1.60 each. In the end, I had made 4 1-cup jars and about 27 mini half-cup jars of jam from this one purchase of strawberries. I have tons to give away and a lot of strawberry sauce as well to pour over homemade vanilla ice cream! Poor Bebe and Bib. We're not allowing Bib to eat strawberries yet in case she's allergic. She tends to break out in eczema with some things, so we're playing it safe. Bebe is ready to try strawberries again and so we gave her a little jam straight off the spoon to see how she would react. When she was a toddler, she had broken out in eczema after eating one of those fruit leather snacks containing strawberry. She didn't react today after a spoonful of jam. She kept hopping up to see over the counter and asked for more, but I didn't want to let her overdose yet. She kept telling me how yummy it was and said she really like it. I told her if she didn't break out by the next morning, I'd give her some for breakfast on toast.
this makes a great sauce to pour over ice cream or cheesecake!
8 cups of sliced strawberries
6 cups sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
- Wash, hull and slice strawberries
- Use a potato masher and slightly crush the berries in a large stockpot
- Simmer over med-low heat for 10 minutes
- Add sugar and lemon juice, stirring to dissolve
- Increase heat to med-high and cook, stirring frequently, for 15-20 minutes more until thickened
- Can using traditional canning methods. I sterilized jars, rings and lids, poured jam into jars, sealed as per manufacturer's instructions and boiled the jars for a further 10 minutes.